The Virginia House of Delegates voted 80-19 today to approve HB1617, a bill that would invite any religious or political university student group to discriminate as they please and still require the campus to providing them funding and access to campus facilities. This would make LGBT students particularly vulnerable to discrimination because universities’ protections for sexual orientation are not enforceable under Virginia law. Click here for more information.
Hudson Taylor founded Athlete Ally in January of 2011. An athlete all his life, Hudson experienced demeaning humor in high school and college athletics, but befriended LGBT people when studying theater and Interactive Performance Art at the University of Maryland. Seeing the juxtaposition between the theatre department and the locker room, Hudson felt it was imperative that he confront a side of sports that no athlete should be proud of: sports marginalize LGBT athletes, coaches and others through systemic homophobia and transphobia. Hudson decided that he could no longer watch from the sidelines as his athletic culture isolated and segregated LGBT athletes and betrayed the integrity and diversity at the heart of athletics.
When Hudson wore an LGBT equality sticker from the Human Rights Campaign on his wrestling headgear, he encountered criticism from his peers, but received positive attention from the media. Following his presence in the media, Hudson received hundreds of emails from parents and closeted athletes. This experience inspired him to found this non-for-profit organization, with the mission of educating, encouraging and empowering straight athlete allies to combat homophobia and transphobia in sports.
Hudson Taylor to speak @ W&M
January 28th @ 9pm
Sadler Center – Commonwealth Auditorium
GALA urges members to remember the William and Mary Alumni and Friends Team that has walked in every NYC AIDS Walk for more than a generation. The walk is Sunday, May 20 and there is time to pledge. Follow this link to offer support to the Team Organizer, Gary Cowling — also the recipient of GALA’s 2011 Director’s Cup.
Students on campus at William and Mary held the first-ever on campus celebration of LGTBIQ Pride (along with lots and lots of food coloring, see photo), part of a larger week-long celebration of all kinds of racial and sexual diversity. Read more here.
After years of filling out paperwork and working with the DC law firm of Arent Fox as our guide, GALA recently received notification from the Internal Revenue Service that The William and Mary GALA Foundation, Inc. — a nonprofit 501(c)(3) public charity separate from William and Mary GALA, Inc. — has been incorporated in the District of Columbia and recognized by the IRS.
The Foundation, under a small Board of Directors made up of several former GALA presidents, will now begin the work of setting up accounts and fund raising efforts to complement the educational and charitable goals that have long been a major part of GALA’s mission. “Having the Foundation active will enable us to solicit major gifts and bequests on a tax-exempt basis,” said Foundation President Wayne Curtis, “where in the past we had to rely on finding a friendly partner within the University to be able to offer that kind of tax treatment to the donor.”
GALA President Scott Binnings commented that he did not expect the Foundation would diminish members’ willingness to support the parent organization. “William and Mary GALA will continue to offer the capability to provide social and political support to our members and the College community; purposes that are just as vital to the quest for equality, but that are not eligible for Federal tax exemption.”
William and Mary GALA’s Silver Anniversary celebrations filled Homecoming weekend, October 21-23 2011, in ways the Founders could have never foretold in 1986. From the opening Birthday Party and Reception on Friday night in the Botetourt Gallery at Swem Library, through the Saturday night banquet in the Wren Building’s Great Hall, to Sunday Brunch, all events went as exactly as planned with great attendance. The Banquet was sold out, with the Great Hall’s limited seating capacity proving to be the barrier to several members who had hoped to get a last minute seat.
College officials were very much in evidence throughout the weekend, including past Dean of the Library Connie McCarthy, the newly-installed Dean Carrie Cooper, Rector of the College (and GALA member) Jeff Trammell, and President of the College, Taylor Reveley.
The Directors’ Cup was presented, for only the third time since it was created in 1993, to Gary Cowling for extraordinary accomplishment in his career as well as for being the longtime organizer of the William and Mary Alumni team for AIDSWalk New York.
Thanks to Margaret Cook, Assistant Director at the College’s Center for Student Diversity, we have a full photo gallery covering the weekend’s events. We also have a new video gallery with video taken at the events.